Monday, May 10, 2010

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric) was the editor of Elle Magazine who had all of life's pleasures at his fingertips. Then one day he had a massive stroke and lost all movement in his body, except for that in one eye. We meet him at the point when he learns this. After dealing with the despair of his condition, Jean-Do as he likes to be called, learns to communicate by blinking at letter charts, reunites with family and friends, and writes the critically praised memoir upon which this film is based. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly snagged an Academy Award nod for Best Director for Julian Schnabel, and it is an arty film to be sure. Yet it is a beautiful art film. Much of it is shot from Bauby's point of view as we hear his inner turmoils and view what he views as he blinks in acknowledgment. He states, "besides my eye, two other things were not paralyzed: my memory and my imagination." So we get to witness these things as well in the film which Schnabel brings to life with great color and creativity.